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PM “will consider” lifting afternoon booze sales ban

PHOTO: Quora

The Thai PM says he’ll consider lifting a ban on the afternoon sale of alcohol between the hours of 2 and 5pm.

The regulation, one of Thailand’s more bizarre laws, prohibits the sale of booze in restaurants and shops for 3 hours every afternoon. Originally introduced by coup leader Thanom Kittikachorn in 1972, it had become mostly forgotten about and rarely enforced until it was revived by the Thaksin Shinawatra government.

Now restaurant operators are urging the PM to do away with the ban, saying it’s hurting business in what is already a challenging economic climate. Yesterday, July 2, representatives of the Restaurant Business Club handed PM Srettha Thavisin a letter calling for the ban to be rescinded.

Restaurateurs say they’re struggling with high operating costs and the rising price of ingredients. The afternoon alcohol ban is just one more unwanted hurdle.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM has responded by acknowledging their concerns and pledged to look again at the 52 year old law.

“I will consider it (the lifting of the afternoon ban on alcohol sales). The government is trying to promote tourism, hoping they will also earn more income.”

It’s not clear if any lifting of the ban would also apply to retail outlets.

Meanwhile, the head of the Restaurant Business Club says the government needs to introduce urgent relief measures to prevent more restaurants from going out of business.

Sorathep Rojpotjanaruch points out that operating costs have gone up by 50% and the price of ingredients like milk, eggs, and vegetables has increased by between 20 and 30%.

“The economy has been sluggish, and consumer purchasing power has declined. The cost and prices of ingredients, such as vegetables, have gone up, on top of expensive electricity fees.”

Referring to the pre-pandemic era, Sorathep says that in 2019, restaurants nationwide earned around 420 billion baht in combined revenue, accounting for about 7% of gross domestic product.

He says restaurant operators were hopeful this would grow by a further 4 or 5% this year. However, since April, business has slowed and restaurants continue to go out of business.

“Small-scale vendors and food shops along streets are at risk of going out of business as they don’t have sufficient financial resources to stay afloat for long periods.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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